Collecting Architecture: Warburg Models

Architecture, interiors and technological systems were crucial for how Aby Warburg and his followers interrogated culture and memory. During the spring semester 2021 the elective course Warburg Models 2 investigated how the Warburg scholars projected a tie between their own occupancy of architectural space and their shared ideas about intellectual order. The course produced an exhibition consisting of six hyper-detailed models at 1:75 scale of buildings commissioned or occupied by the Warburg Institute between 1923 and 1958, including the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg (1926), the Planetarium Hamburg (1930) and the Institute’s former and current homes in London at Thames House (1934-1937), the Imperial Institute (1937-1958) and Woburn Square (1958 —). The models work as monochrome sculptures, coded with the Modernist palette of colours used by the Warburg Institute to organise its collection of books. Each model emphasizes both the interior and the exterior qualities of the building portrayed.

The exhibition is part of the research project Re-inscribing the Warburg Institute at OCCAS (the Oslo Centre for Critical Architectural Studies), AHO lead by Tim Anstey. The Warburg models will travel to Hamburg and New York and finally to London for the centenary of the founding of the Warburg Institute in 2023.

Students: Pernille Boye Ahlgren, Nora Bogegård Kilstad, Cathrine Tønseth Sundem, Maximilian Svendsen, Karina Tang, and Mara Trübenbach.

Course leaders: Tim Anstey and Mari Lending, Institute of Form, Theory and History

Discussion partners: Bill Sherman, director Warburg Institute, London; Uwe Fleckner, director Warburg-Haus, Hamburg; Dag Erik Elgin, artist, Oslo.